The major role that international aid or public aid plays in the development agenda of French-speaking sub-Saharan African states cannot be overemphasized. For many years, international organisations have undertaken projects around the fight against HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence and access to education for young girls, among others.
However, the record on the impact of international aid remains unsatisfactory. Civil society actors and organisations, particularly from the Global South, are increasingly denouncing the control that Northern-based organisations have over the management of resources and the nature of their relationships.
To assess the impact of international aid, the issues at stake and the real problems that undermine the third sector in French-speaking sub-Saharan countries, WACSI, with the support of the BOSCH Foundation, organised a webinar on Tuesday 31 May 2022 on the theme: The State of international aid in sub–Saharan Francophones African countries.
Speaking at the webinar, Kabore Wendyam Micheline, Director of the Pan-African Women’s Welfare Initiative (PWAWI), underscored the lack of objectivity and struggles of international aid to address development issues. “International aid was initially seen as a solution to poverty, but it soon turned into a maze with no way out”, she said.
The Burkinabe human rights activist also decried the nature of the collaborative relationship between local organisations and Southern donors. “International organisations always want to impose their intervention themes and strategies without considering local expertise” According to her, the decolonisation of international aid also involves adapting the accountability procedures that are imposed by the international organisations. “It would also be crucial to streamline accountability procedures and adapt these accounting procedures to the contextual realities of local partners. The imposition of accountability procedures by international organisations does not facilitate the implementation of projects and often does not consider the financial realities of local organisations”, she emphasized.
Fatou Souare Hann, Director of the NGO WAFRICA Guinea, spoke about the narrative of international aid and the need to restructure the relations between the different actors. She stressed that “Today we are in a world where we no longer talk about aid but rather about cooperation and mutual aid. We must not ignore how much Africa’s natural resources help the world economy.”
The head of the NGO WAFRICA reiterated the importance of building the endogenous capacity of local organisations to be self-sustaining. She explained that international organisations should emphasize collaboration with local organisations as partners and act in concert. Furthermore, the aid sector must also free itself from local political influence and focus on the interest of the communities to carry out projects that will have long-term impact.
The webinar was marked with great success with over 127 people in attendance. Participants had the opportunity to reflect and share their views on the issue.
The critiques, recommendations, reflections, and conclusions of this webinar will form the basis on which research will be implemented. The aim of the research is to examine the aid landscape
in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa and to increase the dynamics, conversation, and engagement of the current state of international aid in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa.
The full webinar can be accessed here